History of Electric Vehicles (1881-1970s)


Gustave Trouvé, a Frenchman, created the first electric car in 1881. It was a tricycle with a 0.1 horsepower DC motor that was driven by lead–acid batteries. The entire vehicle, including the driver, weighed around 160 kilograms. Two British professors created a vehicle comparable to this in 1883. Because the technology was not yet sophisticated enough to compete with horse carriages, these early realizations received little public notice. Potential buyers were uninterested in 15 km/h speeds and a 16 km range. The 1864 Paris to Rouen race altered everything: the 1135 kilometers were covered in 48 hours and 53 minutes, with an average pace of 23.3 kilometers per hour. This pace was far faster than that of horse-drawn carriages. Horseless carriages, or autos as they were now known, were popular among the general population.

The next 20 years were a period in which electric automobiles battled with gasoline-powered vehicles. This was especially true in America, where paved roads were few outside of a few cities. Electric vehicles' limited range was not an issue. In Europe, however, the rapidly growing number of paved roads necessitated longer ranges, favoring gasoline automobiles.

Morris and Salom's Electro boat was the first commercial electric vehicle.

This vehicle was used as a taxi in New York City by a company that was founded by the vehicle's creators. Despite a greater purchasing price (about $3000 vs. $1200), the electro boat proved to be more lucrative than horse cabs. It might be utilized for three 4-hour shifts with 90-minute breaks in between. It had two 1.5 hp motors that gave it a top speed of 32 km/h and a range of 40 kilometers.

The creation of regenerative braking by Frenchman M.A. Darracq on his 1897 coupe was the most significant technological achievement of the era. This approach allows the vehicle's kinetic energy to be recovered when braking and the batteries recharged, considerably increasing the operating range. It is one of the most important contributions to electric and hybrid car technology since it adds more to energy efficiency in urban driving than anything else.

In addition, the first vehicle to surpass 100 km/h was one of the most significant electric vehicles of that age. Camille Jenatzy, a Frenchman, designed "La Jamais Contente." It's worth noting that Studebaker and Oldsmobile got their start with electric cars. Electric vehicles began to fade as gasoline vehicles got more powerful, flexible, and, above all, easier to handle. Their expensive price had a negative impact on the environment, but it was their limited driving range and performance that truly hurt them compared to their gasoline rivals. Around 1905, the final commercially significant electric vehicle was released. The only electric cars sold for nearly 60 years were standard golf carts and delivery vans.

Three Bell Laboratories researchers devised a gadget that would transform the world of electronics and electricity in 1945: the transistor.

It swiftly displaced vacuum tubes in signal electronics, and the thyristor, which permitted switching high currents at high voltages, was invented soon after.

This allowed for the control of electric motor power without the need of wasteful rheostats, as well as the operation of AC motors at variable frequencies. The Electrovan was introduced in 1966 by General Motors (GM), and it was powered by induction motors that were fed by thyristor-based inverters.

The Lunar Roving Vehicle, which the Apollo astronauts used on the Moon, was the most significant electric vehicle of the time. The vehicle weighed 209 kg and had a payload capacity of 490 kg. The range was around 65 kilometers. The design of this extraterrestrial transport, on the other hand, has no bearing on Earth. Engineers were able to reach a longer range with little technology due to the lack of air and reduced gravity on the Moon, as well as the sluggish speed.

Concerns about the environment prompted some study into electric vehicles in the 1960s and 1970s. Despite advancements in battery technology and power electronics, however, their range and performance remained a challenge.